Tag Archives: ebay

Breach Brief – Best Buy, Delta, Sears, K-Mart

Delta Airlines, Sears, Kmart and Best Buy and others have all been hit with a data breach that is connected with  Indian Company [24]7.ai. According to a statement from the company, it “discovered and contained an incident potentially affecting the online customer payment information of a small number of our client companies, and affected clients have been notified.”  The incident took place Sept. 26 and was finally shut down on Oct. 12, 2017. The company has notified notified law enforcement.

[24]7.ai claims the breach affected a small number of clients but, in reality, that small number contains some the biggest, most well known, companies in the U.S. and the world.

[24]7.ai is a third party vendor that provides online and mobile chat services. According to CNET in addition to the above mentioned companies other big name companies potentially impacted by the breach include Hilton, AT&T, Citi, American Express, eBay and Farmers Insurance. Both American Express and Farmers Insurance have confirmed they were unaffected by the breach.

According to Sears, owners of K-Mart, unauthorized access to customer payment information was limited to less than 100,000 of its customer’s credit card information. Sears says there was no evidence that stores were compromised or that any internal Sears systems were inappropriately accessed.

Delta airlines, among the worlds largest, reported that certain customer payment information may have been accessed but denied other customer personal information, such as passport, government ID, security or SkyMiles information was impacted. “As best we can tell, only a small fraction of our overall online customer population could have been caught up in this [24]7.ai incident, whether or not they used the chat function.”  But Delta also stated that it can’t confirm if customer data was actually compromised. Delta is continuing its investigation and has launched a dedicated website to provide the latest developments to customers.

Delta stated that software used by [24]7.ai may have exposed the payment information of as many as several hundred thousand customers using Delta’s PC-accessed website. The company is especially concerned because customers didn’t have to interact with the chat tool to be hit by the hack.

According to Delta customer information compromised includes names, addresses, payment card numbers, CVV numbers, and expiration dates. Customers using the Delta’s Wallet service are considered safe as the malware could only grab information entered on the screen. Delta Wallet “masks” this sensitive information.

Electronic retailers Best Buy also acknowledged  it was hit by the same data breach related to [24]7.ai. In a blog post Best Buy said that [24]7.ai  had informed the company that an “illegal intrusion” had occurred between September 27 and October 12, 2017. Best Buy says it will inform affected customers directly and they will not be liable for fraudulent charges. It will also offer free credit monitoring.

 

 

Black Women Enter the Boardroom

Black women are clearly leading the charge to bring diversity to corporate boardrooms. In the past weeks black women have taken positions of leadership at some of America’s biggest and best known tech corporations.

Susan Rice

Netflix announced that, Susan Rice, former national security advisor and ambassador to the U.N. has joined it’s board of directors.

Rice continues to build on a long and distinguished career that includes serving two presidents. Currently Rice is serving in multiple roles as a Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow at American University’s School of International Service, Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Contributing Opinion Writer for the New York Times.

In a press release Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote, “We are delighted to welcome Ambassador Rice to the Netflix board. For decades, she has tackled difficult, complex global issues with intelligence, integrity and insight and we look forward to benefiting from her experience and wisdom.”

Rice responded by saying, “I am thrilled to be joining the board of directors of Netflix, a cutting-edge company whose leadership, high-quality productions, and unique culture I deeply admire.”

Rice holds a Master’s  and Doctorate in International Relations from New College, Oxford University, England, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She earned a Bachelors degree in History from Stanford University . In 2017 Rice received the Award of Commander, Legions of Honor of France from French President Francois Hollande for her contributions to Franco-American relations.

Edith Cooper

Edith W. Cooper has joined the board at Etsy.com. Etsy.com is global marketplace for handcrafted goods. Cooper brings to Etsy 30 years of leadership experience in management and sales across the financial services industry. Cooper’s career includes stints as the former Executive Vice President and Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs. Cooper was responsible for the recruitment, development, promotion, and welfare of 35,000 employees around the world. She held positions at Morgan Stanley and Bankers Trust and is a member of the Board of Directors of Slack, the Museum of Modern Art and Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Etsy CEO Josh Silverman said of Cooper, “With Edith joining the board, we gain significant talent-management expertise, based on years of experience at leading global financial institutions. We are also honored that a person who called Brooklyn her home for many years is now working hand-in-hand with us to make our tech company even more successful. We are looking forward to Edith bringing her wealth of knowledge to Etsy providing guidance as we continue driving growth and empowering the 1.9 million creative entrepreneurs who rely on our marketplace.”

Richelle Parham

Richelle Parham took her seat on Best Buy’s board. Parham was named to Black Enterprise’s 2015 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America.  She is a partner at Baltimore based private equity firm Camden Partners Holdings, a private equity firm that provides growth and seed capital to lower-middle-market companies in technology, business services, education, and healthcare.

Parham brings 25 years of experience in global strategy and marketing to her role at Best Buy. Parham has exhibited her leadership in numerous corporate roles that include vice president and chief marketing officer for eBay before joining Camden Partners Holdings in 2016.  From 2008-2010 she served as chief of Global Marketing Innovation and Initiatives and head of Global Marketing Services of Visa Inc. For 13 years she held a variety of leadership positions at Digitas Inc. including general manager of the company’s  Chicago office. She has been a director of Ranir L.L.C. since September 2017 and was independent director at Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings since 2016. She has also held senior leadership roles at Rapp Worldwide and Citibank.

“I am delighted to join the Board and look forward to working with Hubert and the other directors as Best Buy continues to execute on its vision to enrich people’s lives through technology,” Parham said.

Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Intel Corporation, maker of computer chips has announced Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey is joining its board of directors. Lavizzo-Mourey is a public health expert and is currently the PIK Professor of Health Equity and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. She served for more than 14 years as the CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is a board member of manufacturer General Electric Co. and oil and gas company Hess Corp.

Lavizzo-Mourey is the fifth director to join Intel as an independent director with no material relationship to the company.  Intel has pursed such members since 2016. The chip maker is rapidly expanding into data heavy computing fields such as the data center, which handles information coming from connected devices and services such as autonomous vehicles, and health care. Lavizzo-Mourey will join other black female executives at Intel that include Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Aicha S. Evans and Barbara Whye, Intel’s chief diversity and inclusion officer

In an email Whye wrote; “We know she will bring a unique and important perspective to our board as we continue to drive diversity and inclusion within Intel and the technology industry.”

 

How to Safely Buy a Used Smartphone

African-Americans rely heavily in their smartphones. We use these devices for everything from email to banking to reinforcing our faith.  So buying used technology like a smartphone, laptop or tablet could be a disaster if you don’t know what you’re doing. Saving money is the objective for African-Americans but saving yourself some headaches ranks right up there as well.

How should black people buy used technology? What should we be looking for? How do we avoid scams and just outright junk?

First of all stay away from Craigslist.  I am not saying you can’t get some good deals but Craigslist is crawling with scam artists. Why take the chance? Look into refurbished products. The refurbished technology market is a great place to shop and many of the tech devices are factory refurbished. This means that they are repaired and re-conditioned by the maker to their standards. And many come with the proper guarantees and warranties to ease your fears. Some products you find on the refurbished market are simply returns that have never been used. Others had minor damage from shipping or were flawed and repaired for re-sale.

You probably know that a new smartphone could run you as much as $750 for the new top of the line models.  As a matter of fact Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 8 smartphone will break the bank at over $900. You can sometimes get a discount on a new phone by signing a contract but you still pay in the long run.

As I said, the best kind of used smartphone is a refurbished phone. They are fully tested, factory reset, and certified. Buying a refurbished phone, usually last year’s model, is close to the experience of buying a new phone. Let’s be real, there are often minor upgrades to this years model over last year’s. But the price difference can be hundreds of dollars. And do you need all the fancy tricks, bells and whistles anyway?

Buying a refurbished iPhone from Apple is a great move. Apple takes great care and pride in it’s used products.  For example, your used iPhone will have a new battery, the outer case will look and feel brand new and probably is. It will come in a brand new box with all the needed accessories. All that and a one year warranty. Try that on Craigslist!

If possible always buy directly from the manufacturer or certified re-seller. These companies are highly motivated to sell problem free used products.

So where do you buy factory refurbished smartphones? Try Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, Samsung, or Walmart.   Also check eBay and Blinq.com.

If you buy a used phone from another source make sure you follow these tips.

  • Check the device throughly for damage and functionality. Make sure it works as it should. Sort of take it for a test drive.
  • Check for tell tale signs of it being stolen like being unable to unlock it or not having accessories like the charging cord.
  • Check for contacts, messages and photos on board. This may indicate the phone was lost or stolen.
  • Apple iPhone comes with several apps that can only be deleted through jail breaking. These apps are camera, photos, music, clock, settings, messages, phone, mail, Safari, App Store, weather, reminders, calculator, calendar, iTunes, Newsstand, videos, Compass, Game Center, contacts, stocks, voice memos, Notes, Passbook and Maps. If any of these are missing don’t buy!
  • Search the iPhone for “Cydia.” This application is present on almost all jailbroken iPhones as it gives access to Cydia apps.
  • Connect your iPhone to your computer and use the iTunes “Restore” function. Once the restore process is complete, you can be certain your phone is not jailbroken.
  • Never buy a phone that is not fully charged.
  • Finally the U.S .wireless industry trade group, CTIA, has launched a tool called the Stolen Phone Checker, which lets you look up whether a phone has been reported lost or stolen. You simply go to the website and enter the IMEI, MEID or ESN number. Keep in mind that these companies keep a database of stolen phones and will not allow the phone to connect to any service if it is reported stolen.
If you want to buy an unlocked phone capable of being used on any service then you may want to check into Amazon. The ‘sell you anything’ company is expanding its unlocked phone marketplace.  Unlocked phones are a growing market because people want to save money and have the flexibility to go with any service they desire. And let’s not forget that many carriers are no longer offering the subsidies and free phones with a contract like they used to.
 
 Now you know.
 
 

 

 

African-American Named First Ever Diversity Chief at eBay

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Damien Hooper-Campbell

Damien Hooper-Campbell has been named the first chief of diversity for the online auction website eBay.

Before joining eBay Damien worked a year as the global diversity and inclusion lead at Uber. Prior to that he was the diversity business partner and community strategist for Google’s diversity, integrity and governance division.

In an eBay press release Hooper-Campbell said “eBay is one of the pioneers in harnessing technology to level the playing field by creating a global marketplace that is truly inclusive and diverse. I look forward to leading eBay’s efforts to foster an even more diverse workforce and inclusive workplace, which I believe can contribute to increased innovation and even better engagement with eBay’s hundreds of millions of buyers and sellers around the world.”

Damien is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta where he earned a B.A. in economics and M.B.A. from Harvard Business SchoolHooper-Campbell has an extensive background in business and leading diversity efforts. He served as a vice president within the Pine Street Leadership Development Group at Goldman Sachs and as an assistant director of minority initiatives for Harvard Business School’s Admissions Board. Hooper-Campbell also worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley as well as serving the Harlem community of New York as an Associate Program Officer for Program and Non-Profit Investments at the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corp.

Damien Hooper-Campbell is 37 years old. He takes over the position on July 18th, and will  be based in San Jose, CA.  

 

Online Price Discrimination

ID-100188375African-American people are extremely sensitive to discrimination. No matter what form it takes it is ugly and wrong. Unfortunately discrimination has found a home on the Internet. Its called price discrimination.

We have all had it happen to us. You search for a product or service and find it at one price but then later, sometimes only minutes, the price will change. We have all heard that you should search for flights on certain days and at certain hours to get the best deal. But Internet pricing is discriminatory, even predatory, according to factors that will surprise you.

Research from Northeastern University analyzed how online stores customize prices according to a shoppers digital habits and demographics such as their ZIP code.  The study revealed  major e-commerce sites including Home Depot, Wal-mart, and Hotels.com list online prices that are all over the map. Not only that but in some situations prices are customized based on the behavior of a particular shopper. This behavior includes whether you are shopping on a  smartphone or desktop. The report was presented this at the Internet Measurement Conference in Vancouver, Canada.

“Going into this, we assumed the project would be risky—that we might not find anything,” says Christo Wilson, an assistant professor of computer science at Northeastern and one of the study’s authors. “There have been incidents in the past where companies have been caught doing this, and the PR was very bad. We thought that sites wouldn’t be doing anything. We were more surprised that we found something.”

Some companies whose sites were studied complained that the study methodology was flawed. Northeastern researchers did admit to one mistake but believe that the study provides insight into how your shopping experience can change depending on personal factors.

The actual searching and shopping was performed by 300 people recruited through the crowd sourcing site Mechanical Turk. Researchers had them shop online and perform product searches on 16 top e-commerce sites. The study tested these sites for personalization based on the browser a web shopper might use such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari.  Also tested were operating systems; Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, and whether or not a user was logged into the site as a regular customer with an online account.

What the research is looking at is the ability of e-commerce sites to tailor what you pay based on what they know about you. That’s discriminatory. For example does you zip code indicate an certain income level?  Does that mean you can or will pay more? That’s predatory.  Are you paying more for a plane ticket based on your profile on a travel website. That’s predatory. Or what you post on Facebook? That’s discriminatory.

How true is this? We already know that online advertising is targeted at you based on your web searches and other online activity. We also know that Facebook will follow your activity and travels on the Internet even after you log off the website. Merchants use cookies to monitor your activity on websites as well. Another fact to consider is that African-Americans and people of color are more likely to use mobile technology for banking and shopping than white Americans. Your digital profile is out there. Could prices be set based on that? It seems so.

What the test revealed was that if you shop using your smartphone some online stores actually pay attention to what kind of smartphone you use. Home Depot and Travelocity.com websites were the target of the research but they both deny this activity. Researchers admitted to a flaw in the study methodology pointed out by Travelocity.

However, Travelocity admitted to offering a handful of mobile-only offerings on smartphones and tablets that don’t appear on searches performed on desktop computers. Why? Its a tactic used to encourage the download of the the mobile app. A Travelocity spokesperson told Wired.com that results aren’t cheaper by design but sometimes are since Travelocity smartphone users might be looking for a place to stay at the last minute. Results that appear on mobile devices appear to bring down the average price the spokesperson explains. But Travelocity claims the pricing for the same specific properties remain constant across platforms.

Wilson and his team of researchers were able to highlight other forms of price discrimination on some websites but were unable to determine the root cause of the price variations. Among those most notable are Sears and rental car websites. “We tried different browsers and different platforms. We tried logging in and logging out,” Wilson says. “But it looks like there’s something else in there that we haven’t figured out yet.”

Northeastern researchers don’t believe that cookies are all bad. According to Wilson on sites like Cheaptickets.com or Orbitz.com, users who are logged in will often be shown “members only” pricing that, on average,  saves the member $12 on hotels. But if buyers cleared their cookies before conducting the search, they wouldn’t be logged in and wouldn’t see that discount.

Wilson and the Northeastern team avoided Amazon.com and eBay.com. These online marketplaces, explains Wilson, allow sellers to list their own products and used items making things too complicated.

Considering the discriminatory pricing found by this research how does the consumer get the best offer for your money? Wilson points out that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. “Every site we looked at was doing something different—changing different things based on different information,” he says.

There are some guidelines for searching and shopping online;

  • Perform searches on all platforms you have access to. That means your regular browser, an incognito or anonymous browser, and your smartphone or tablet.
  • Plan ahead and take your time to observe price fluctuations.
  • Be extra thorough asking a friend or relative in a different zip code to do the same thing and see what results turn up.
  • Incorporate every money saving tool you can. That includes coupons, credit card discounts, adjusting time and date of travel. Use frequent flyer miles and credits. Ask about credit union or employer discounts.

This way of shopping may be tedious and much different from your mall stores with clearly marked prices, coupons and discounts but it’s an unavoidable part of our digital lives. If you shop online in any form you might as well get used to it. “All online retailers are watching each other, and it’s a race to the bottom,” says Wilson. “The only thing that changes between online stores and brick-and-mortar stores is the pace at which that happens. It’s faster online.”

Now you know.

 

 

 

 

Reacting to Online Fraud

You want to see a black person mad? Have them pay for something and not get what they paid for. Fraud is a reality whenever you shop online. And nothing is more frustrating than not knowing who to call when you discover you have been ripped off.

According to the  FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center or IC3 there were 262,813 complaints of Internet crime filed with the agency last year alone. Of that number 119, 457 or 45% reported actual financial losses. So how much money was lost to online fraud in 2013? How about $781,841,611! Yeah; I used an exact number because you need to see exactly how much money the criminals are raking in. The average victim lost $2,975  to online fraud. Again, exact numbers. You can see all the stats in the IC3 2013 Internet Crime Report.

Imagine how much larger those numbers would be if all the crime was actually reported. It is believed that as much as 15% of online fraud is never reported because the victims are just too embarrassed. 

Shopping or conducting business online is fairly secure if you take the right precautions. But what if you lose money to a fraud or scam? Who do you report it to? First let me say this; if you call your local police they may be woefully untrained on how to handle a cyber crime. Its not their fault. Investigating cyber crime is a specialized task that is beyond their pay grade. If you got ripped off by a fake charity that comes to your door they may be able to help. But a cyber crime that may originate half a world away is just out of their league.

One of the most common scams that strike people online is the phishing attack.  A phishing scam is when a cyber criminal tries to trick you into revealing potentially valuable information. The same information that was stolen from JP Morgan.

The criminal will create an email that is a near perfect duplicate of an email from your bank or other trusted source. The email may warn you about a potential security incident then provide you a link to click on for further information,  or to go to the website or a security patch or something like that.

If you click on the link one of two things are going to happen. You may be taken to a duplicate website and asked for your user name and password. Or you may download some form of malware that could steal valuable information. Most banks and other financial institutions do not communicate this way. My advice is never, ever click on a link you are not absolutely certain of what it is.  But if you do…

1) Forward the phishing email and link along to the company being imitated. If they impersonated your bank or other financial service provider make sure you let the bank know and forward the email to them as well.

2) Contact your local law enforcement and at least complete a police report. Also report the incident to the Internet Crime Complaint Center or IC3.

3) Remember that a paper trail is your best friend. Your bank or credit card company keeps excellent records. You should too. Keep a record of all the calls  you make and to whom you spoke with, your statements with the suspicious transactions and any other correspondence or documentation required.  If enough people report this scam it could trigger a community alert. Inform a government consumer protection agency or relevant tech firm.    

4) Delete the message once you’ve done all this and add the email address to your spam folder so you never have to see it again.

Most legitimate online shopping sites will offer a way for customers to dispute a sale or charge or report fraud of any kind.

For example if you get caught up in PayPal themed phishing campaign you will need to contact PayPal’s fraud department.  Do a simple web search for PayPal Phishing or PayPal Fraud. Remember that these cyber criminals can craft an absolutely flawless copy of a PayPal site or email so don’t click on or respond to anything suspicious. Once you are in touch with the real PayPal they will tell you exactly what to do. Nearly every bank and online merchant will have a procedure to report phishing and fraud. Use it. And the next question is; if they don’t why are you doing business with them?

I shop online regularly. And I worry about what happens if I don’t receive what I ordered. This rarely happens. But what if it did?

Disputing charges or an order is a skill you have to master if you shop online. You have to learn who and how to report it. How to return it and if necessary how to get your money back? Or what if you are overcharged? You need to learn how to dispute and get the correct product or money back.  Here are some effective steps for dealing with disputed or fraudulent transactions.

1) Contact the organization where the charges are coming from. Most legitimate organizations  have a fast and efficient system to help the customer. They want to correct the situation as soon as possible. And they will. These merchants will provide return shipping and refunds if the order or the price is not right. I have even returned items and got a coupon for the next time I shop on their site. They want your business.

2) But if that’s not the case or doesn’t solve your problem, contact your bank or credit card provider. You may be able to block the charges or even get your money back. Some credit card issuers and banks have fraud protections for their card holders. Merchants take notice when the bank or a credit card company calls. They don’t want that kind of trouble.

3) You may need to contact law enforcement or the Better Business Bureau or the IC3. Don’t hesitate if you think you’ve been ripped off. And don’t be afraid to take to social media and let them have it! You’ll be surprised what happens if you send out a Tweet.

Sites like eBay and Amazon are market providers. They simply create the online site where people sell directly to each other. There are many sites that specialize in providing a marketplace for buyer and sellers. Some online marketplaces carry very specific or unique products and others carry just about everything like Craigslist. A very dangerous place if you don’t know what you’re doing and how to protect yourself.  Now eBay and Amazon and many other online marketplaces are very diligent at protecting their customers and their reputations. But using these sites means you have to protect yourself.  Learn how they fight fraud before you get involved with them. eBay has an excellent system in place to judge the sellers on their site and are very responsive to complaints. Same for Amazon. Learn how to use their systems. But if something does happen you’ll need to follow their specific instructions for handling fraudulent sellers. Amazon and eBay are definitely ready to fight fraud with you and for you. 

Remember there are ways to fight online fraud. You have to educate yourself to spot it before it happens and how to react when it does happen. There is no software that is going to do the job for you.

Now you know